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The Lighting of Piers 

and Warehouses 

Inform nf ion compiled by 


Lighting Service Department 


M A Y , 






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Synopsis: page 

Reasons for Adequate Lighting 3 

General Requirements of Lighting 7 

Choice of Size of Lamps o 

Piers 9 

Warehouses \r y 

Bibliography K> 

For information regarding Mazda lamps and lighting questions 
refer to the nearest sales office. 

To insure receipt of bulletins, notify the Department of Pub- 
licity, Edison Lamp Works of General Electric Company, Harrison, 
N. J., of any change of address. 

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The Lighting of Piers and Warehouses 

Information Compiled by A, L. Powell ami li. E. Harrington 

Lighting Sen ice De-pur meat 

Reasons for Adequate Lighting 

The reconstruction period is requiring great quantities of manu- 
factured products. 

How can industry proceed if, with the plants producing huge 
outputs, the products cannot be moved to the places where required? 
The factor of transportation is of parallel importance to output. 

It can easily be shown and has been demonstrated, to our 
sorrow, that a weakening of this important link in our system 
seriously impairs tin- entire industrial organization. If, for one 

Fig. 1 

Night View of the Delivery Platform of a Large Railway Pur. This is illuminated hy 

200-watt howl frosted Mazda C lamps with dome enamel steel reflectors 

hung well out of reaeh. These are spaced so that slightly over 

Y% watt per square foot i- provided. Certainly trucking 

and freight Irmdling can be carried on with ex- 

. pediency under sueh illumination 

reason or another a terminal becomes congested, this is reflected 
along the whole line back to the producer. Embargoes are put on 
and the manufacturers are forced to let up on their output. Each 
plant depends on others for parts and raw materials. It is, there- 
fore, evident that anything which will help our transportation 
problem is a factor in our industrial program. 

Adequate lighting facilitates the movement of material and 
proper illumination of warehouses and piers thus indirectly increases 
and expedites production. 


Speeding of shipment by good lighting is increased through the 
following direct causes: 

(a) Greater actual speed of trucking, etc. 

(6) Markings more easily read. 

The indirect effects are: 

(c) Less mis-sent shipments. 

{(I < Reduction of spoilage and thefts. 

u Improved relations with the public. 

These are not theoretical statements, but are home out in 

(^4) If a pier or warehouse is dimly lighted, many portions in 
deep shadow, truckers must proceed cautiously, watching out for 
objects lying ahout on the floor, for they lack the confidence which 
comes with clear vision. Accident reports reveal that one of tie 

most common causes is stumbling or falling. With poor lighting 
this hazard is increased. Not only does an accident affect the 
injured worker, but it lias a demoralizing effect on the entire force. 
Bach workman becomes over-cautious and slows down his move- 
ments. Proper light, therefore, increases the speed of freight 
h;i ndling. 

(H) In sorting pack; es or stowing them aboard ship, it is, of 

course, necessary to read and check the labels or marking-. It is 
self-evident that with plenty of light, less time will be spent on 

this step of the handling. In many buildings there are only a few 

spots where there is enough illumination to read labels, and material 
actually has to be moved there to be sorted. Certainly this extra 
handling is not efficient. 

(C) Conversation with transportation officials indicates that 
<>ri( ' "* tn( ''r serious troubles is mis-sent shipments. Inadequate 
illumination is an important contributing cause. The reading 
matter on way bills i- often faint or blurred and many packages ; 

badly addressed. The chances for error under poor light are great. 

Packages ut to the wrong place sometinu never return. Perish- 
able freight is often entirely lost if mis-sent. Occasionally an 

entire factory i- held up awaiting the arrival of goods, the delay 

in transportation being due to a mis-sent shipment. Beyond the 

delay and co-t of locating mis-sent material, there follow i further 

load on the transportation system of sending it to proper des- 

I> Spoilage of g ods is reduced if there i no dark e 

in which packages of perishable material become hidden. .V m. 


boxes that have been broken in shipment are readily caught and 
taken can 1 of before a greater loss is sustained. Breakage is bound 
to be reduced, for employees will not throw articles about promis- 
cuously if the place is well enough lighted so that they are likely 
to be seen. Theft is greatly reduced, a> the sneak thief would not 
dare to pry open a bundle and remove part of the goods if the 
chances of detection were high. 

(E) Modern business methods have made it important to 

please the public. Common carriers desire t<> have the most cordial 

Fig. * 

Night \ \vw of a < oastwise Steamship Pier Illuminated by 500- watt M kzda I Limpi 

in Dome Enamel Steel Reflectors Hung Close to the Roof Trusses. Slightly 

over l \ wall per square foot thus furnishes adequate illumination 

fur safety and efficient freight handling 

relation with shippers. If consignments are delivered promptly 

in undamaged condition, if the mi^-sent shipments arc eliminated, 
then the transportation agents should have the good will of t he 


Investigation has been made of a con iiderahle number of build- 
ings of the class under consideration and this reveals that in general, 
the standards of illumination arc far too low for the most economic 
operation. Not only is insufficient light furnished, luit in a great 
majority of cases antiquated equipment is employed. Ol^olete 

types of incandescent lamps, inefficient carhwn arc lam and open 


flame gas burners are more prevalent than in almost any other 
held the authors have investigated. Even where efficient lamps 
arc employed, frequently light is wasted through the absence of 
proper reflectors. In many cases where reflectors are installed, 
they have not been well maintained, becoming very dirty, rusted 
and in some cases, actually falling apart. Bulletin Index 14 con- 
tains considerable data on this important question. Incandescent 
lamps are allowed to burn after becoming badly blackened and 
gas mantles which have half broken off are still in service. 

It is apparent that the effect of light-colored surroundings in 

increasing the illumination is not fully realized. Ceilings and walls 
have been allowed to become almost black, reflecting practically no 
light. A little white paint will save a great deal on the lighting 
bill and allow increased utilization of daylight. See Bulletin Index 15. 

In an investigation of 58 large steamship piers in New York 
City as regards the artificial lighting, data was obtained on the size 
of the pier, number and size of lighting units, spacing and height of 
lamps, height of ceiling, color of walls and ceilings, class of traffic, 
watts per square foot and general artificial lighting conditions. 

The investigators were experienced illuminating engineers, 

competent to evaluate the resultant illumination. An analysis of 
the results showed that (>.4 per cent had good illumination, 51/2 
per cent fair illumination and 44. (J per cent illumination which was 
entirely inadequate and generally poor. The average watts per 
square foot of those piers electrically lighted was 0.16 with a 
maximum of 0.34 and a minimum of 0.05. Yerv much better 
illumination results would have been obtained in practically all the 
cases if the equipment had been well maintained and surroundings 
given an occasional coat of whitewash or other light paint. Three 
;ind six-tenths per cent of the piers had white walls and ceilings, 9.1 
per cent, light colored; 40 per cent, medium colored; 54.8 per cent, 
dark, and 14.5 per cent very dark (almost black) surroundings. 

The above data justifies the foregoing criticism. Such con- 
ditions would not be tolerated for the handling of materials in 
ordinary manufacturing plants, and the surprising feature is that 
it has been possible to get along at all with such poor light. 

In general, the spacing was far too wide for the hanging height 
of lamp and uneven illumination resulted. 

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of energy. The element of decoration or artistic appearance, beyond 
neatness, is, of course, not an important feature. 

In general, glass reflectors are not well suited for this type of 
interior on account of the likelihood of their being broken. Freight 
handlers are none too gentle in their methods and in carrying high 
pieces, lengths of pipes, etc., no particular pains will be taken to 
clear the reflectors. An efficient steel reflector is generally the 

The RLM standard dome type reflector gives a greater spread 
of light than the deep bowl, permitting wide spacing without inter- 
vening areas in darkness. This style also gives a higher output. 

The dirty surroundings have been mentioned before and the 
surface of the reflector should be such that it can be easily cleaned. 
Porcelain enamel is virtually a layer of glass applied to the steel 
base and has all the advantages of glass. It is easy to clean; soap 
and water or even a wet rag will give the porcelain a bright, clean 
surface, returning it to its original efficiency, even though it has 
become greasy or very dirty. It resists acid fumes, whereas other 
finishes are likely to deteriorate rapidly if exposed to certain vapors. 
It is heat resistant, and does not depreciate nor turn yellow with 
age. It has a high reflecting power. For more complete data on 
reflectors see Bulletin Index 2£. 

A reflector has the further advantage of directing the light 
eflficiently where it is needed, rather than allowing a large portion 
to escape to the ceiling and walls. A given area can be adequately 
lighted with from 25 to 50 per cent less power if lamps are equipped 
with reflectors, rather than used bare. 

As pointed out before, it is most desirable to have walls and 
ceilings light in color. Paint is a wonderful adjunct to the lighting 
system. Many a poorly lighted room has been made satisfactory 
by refinishing the interior. 

After the system is properly installed, it should not be neglected. 
It is most necessary to have a careful system of regular maintenance. 
Any railroad man certainly knows that his roadbed would not be 
safe if it were not regularly inspected and kept in first-class con- 
dition. A pier would soon fall to pieces if the spiles were not renewed 
when broken or rotted. On the other hand, lighting equipment is 
allowed to fall to pieces, lamps to become broken, reflectors rustv 
and very little attention is paid. The output of light is decreased 
considerably, even with a small layer of dust or dirt, yet many 
installations are in operation where equipment has been neglected 



for years. Certainly the user is receiving hut a very, very small 
percentage of the light he is paying for. 

Choice of the Size of Lamp 

As a general rule, the larger lamps are more efficient and cost 
less per unit of illumination than small lamps. The fewer the 
number of outlets, the less the cost of wiring and maintenance. 
On the other band, in designing an installation a consideration of 
this feature alone may make the lighting practically worthless 
For example, an area of 4000 square feet is to he lighted. If % 
watt per square foot is provided, 1000 watts are needed. For 
ordinary ceiling heights, one 1000-watt lamp would certainly not 
be the type to employ. 

The size of the lamp is controlled primarily by the ceilini 
height. In other words, lamps hung 20 feet above the floor on 20-ft. 
centers give the same results as lamps 10 fed above the floor on 
10-ft. centers. All other items being equal, mind this statement, a 
400-watt lamp 20 feet high would be as effective as four 100-wati 
lamps 10 feet high. 

Other items to consider are (a) Obstructions of various sorts. 
If material is piled high or if there is much piping, cross beam-, 
etc., it is apparent that dense shadows would be cast by large lamp- 
widely spaced, which could be avoided by using -mall lamp- spaced 
more closely together, (b) Character of ceiling, walls and general 
surroundings. If these are light in color, reflecting well, then 
considerable diffuse light is introduced in the illumination. This 
eliminates shadows and permits wider spacing, u) Size of bay. 
The total area is usually divided into bays by posts or columns and 
for good appearance, as well as ease of construction, it is desirable 
to install outlets symmetrically with respect to the bay-. This, of 
course, has a determining effect on the spacing and hence on the 
size of lamps. This practice is particularly important in ware- 
houses where material is piled or stored in reference to the arrange- 
ment of post-. 


The annual carrying capacity of a vessel depends, to a consider- 
able degree, upon prompt loading and unloading, so that it is good 
practice to work night and day when it is at dock. 

Due to conditions over which man has no control, such a- -toriny 
weather, fog, ice floes and accidents, a fleet of ships cannot main- 



tain any absolutely definite schedule as a railroad, and these un- 
avoidable losses of time must be made up. A good lighting system 
must be maintained in order that the work may be performed 
efficiently during the dark hours. With poor lighting, no matter 
how good the mechanical equipment may be, the human element 
cannot work rapidly and the docking time will be lengthened. 
The general effects of good lighting, as outlined in the opening 
paragraphs, are, of course, found on the pier, and it will speed up 
the handling of material. 

Fig. 4 

Night \ iew of the Passenger Section of a Large Municipal Pier. The pier which \$ 

2340 ft. long is lighted by a total ..f 236 4<i()-watt Mazda C lamps in 

opalescent enclosing globes huny i5 ft. high. These are 

on centers 40 bv 35 feet 

It is further necessary to provide adequate light for the custom 
omcers to properly inspect all freight and baggage in the shortest 
possible time. The amount of material being handled by the ship- 
ping concerns at the present time is greater than ever before, making 
this subject of vital importance. It is reasonable to estimate that 
ut least one third of the work is done after night time. 


There are two general elasses of ocean and lake piers, the first, 
those used for both passenger and freight, the second, those used 
for the handling of freight only. As a rule, the larger piers of the 
first class are of the double-deck type, passenger section above, 
while the freight pier is usually only one story in height. 

All piers are long, narrow structures, the sides of which consist 
of doors through which the freight is passed. The center of the 
main deck is employed as a driveway for trucks and wagons. 
Since the freight is loaded from the sides of the piers, more light is 
required here than over the center, a low intensity sufficing for the 
trucking. The requirements for the sides of the pier correspond 
largely with those for a warehouse. The stevedores must read the 
addresses and place the hoisting tackle around the boxes, bales 
and casks to be loaded. Lamps should be hung high so that they 
will not interfere with the storage of freight, will not be broken and 
so that piles of freight will not cast long shadows. It is often advis- 
able, in the case of a relatively low ceiling, to hang lamps between 
the girders rather than on them. This permits a slightly higher 

For piers handling general freight and merchandise, the rules 
for spacing and size of lamps given under warehouses apply for the 
side bays or loading sections; approximately \i watt per square foot 
will give adequate lighting. For the trucking area or center bay, 
larger lamps can be used on wider spacings. A general figure of 
J/g watt per square foot will prove satisfactory. A typical loading 
platform or side bay well lighted in accordance with the rules laid 
down is shown in the night view. Fig. 1. 

Where the pier is relatively narrow with no line of demarkation 
between the loading areas and the general trucking space, as 
illustrated in Fig. 2, a symmetrical arrangement of outlets over the 
entire area best meets the conditions. The diagram, Fig. 3, however, 
shows an arrangement commonly encountered. For these par- 
ticular dimensions, 150- watt lamps in enameled dome steel reflectors 
should be used, one each in the side bays, while 300-watt units 
of the same character on 50-ft. centers furnish adequate light for 
the central or trucking space. 

For piers devoted to the handling of fruit, the lighting require- 
ments are considerably more exacting. A higher intensity is re- 
quired and more even distribution. Fruit after being unloaded on 
the pier is generally sold at auction. The commission merchants 
visit the piers and inspect the fruit. It is quite important that the 



true condition of the fruit be shown to the prospective buyer. It is 
necessary that the color of the fruit is not distorted and a close 
approximation to white light is desirable for the artificial illumina- 
tion. A case is on record where commission merchants have refused 
perfectly good fruit and left it to rot on the hands of the owners, 
because it appeared green under artificial light, the color com- 
position of which was such as to distort materially the natural 
appearance. From 0.3 to 0.5 watt per square foot with Mazda C 
lamps is desirable for a fruit pier. 

Fig. 5 

OH Yccoimt of the Density of Trucking in the Neighborhood of a Pier, the Surrounding 

Area Should be Well Illuminated. This night view taken down the center of 

the Commonwealth Fish Pier, Boston, shows the effect of using 

750-watt Mazda C lamps in street lighting fixtures of the 

V.valux diffusing type. These are supported on 

brackets attached to the face of the building 

On the passenger decks <>f the pier, somewhat more attention 
should be given to the appearance of the unit. Most people who 
travel by boat for business or pleasure, are of a class which are 
accustomed to the comforts resultant from good illumination. 
I he patronage of this class of people is most desirable in normal 

times and a well lighted pier is a factor toward this end. With good 
lighting the inspection of baggage by the custom officers is facili- 

piers and warehoeses 


tated, which tends to eliminate one of the greatest inconveniences 
of ocean travel. A well equipped and thoroughly modern passenger 
deck is pictured in Fig. 4. 

The traffic in the neighborhood of a busy pier is quite heavy. 
To avoid confusion and resultant delay of trucking, the approaches 
to a busy pier should have somewhat better lighting than normally 
furnished by the municipal street lamps. Standards are quite out 
of the question, as they are very likely to be broken by a truck. 
Brackets suspended from the face of the building provide the 
logical solution. Standard street lighting equipments of the various 
types, with their particular advantages, should be used here. The 

Fig. 6 

Night View of the Water Side of a Busy Pier, Lighted by Overhead Units and Flood 
lighting Projectors. Efficient and safe handling of material is made 

possible through the liberal use of artificial light 

quantity of light or the size and spacing of units is governed largely 
by local conditions. An excellent example of this form of lighting 
i^ shown in Fig. 5. 

A completely equipped pier should have high power lamps on 
the water side of the structure. These should be hung high so that 
the open hatchways of the ships will be, or can be lighted. This 
facilitates freight handling and tends to eliminate accident. The 
actual lighting of the hatchway itself is taken care of by portable 
lamps, which are part of the ship's equipment. 



Goose-neck fixtures mounted on the sides of the piers, often 
prove unsatisfactory because they are likely to be broken by the 
ship's booms while loading. 

Lighting on the exterior of a pier must be such as will not 
interfere with the pier signal lights or with navigation in the slips. 
The loading decks, hatches ami pier string pieces must all be 
lighted. Floodlighting has been app ied for this purpose, but in 
general, is not the proper method of illumination, for there are 
numerous obstructions which cast long, dense shadows, makin 

working conditions dangerous. A close approximation to general 
illumination is desirable. 


Fig. 7 

Night View of a Well Illuminated Warehouse of Modern Construction. One 200-watt 
Mazda C lamp in an enameled dome reflector is placed close to the 15-ft. 

ceiling in each 20-ft. bay 

To light a deck of a ship at an isolated pier, weatherproof, 
angle type reflectors and high candle-power lamps give a desirable 
distribution. These should, of course, be hung as high as practicable, 
and to avoid danger of their being struck and broken, it is well t 
provide recesses or pockets in the face of the pier. 

Where piers are adjoining and two ships are to be lighted at 
the same time, a somewhat different method may be applied. There 
is available a special unit of the street lighting type with prismatic 
band refractor and an exterior globe, mirrored on one half. This 
equipment gives sufficient light near the pier, ami at the same time 
the broad band of light emitted through the refractor illuminates 





the ship at the opposite pier, and cuts shadows. The mirroring 
prevents waste of light in directions where it is not needed. 

It is very essential that equipment used around a pier be 
weatherproof, as these have to stand up against the attacks of 
smoke, gas and salt air. 

Fig. 8 

Day View in a Warehouse Where the Material is Piled Particularly High. The bays 

are 20 by 20 ft., and each is provided with two outlets, 60-watt Mazda lamps 

in deep bowl aluminum finish reflectors are placed close to the 13-ft. 

ceiling. Lights are controlled in rows by switches, one of which 

may be seen in the box on the column in the foreground 


The light should be quite evenly distributed, as labels and 
markings must be read anywhere about the Hoor, yet the demands 
in this respect are by no means as exacting as where close visual 
work must be carried on. The intensity should be highest near the 
doorway and down the main aisles, for here is found the densest 
traffic. To attain an average intensity of at least 1 foot-candle, 
and not have t he minimum appreciably below \± foot-candle, 
specified in the industrial codes, from 0.15 to 0,25 watt per square 
toot of floor area is advisable. Tliis figure presumes the use of 



high efficiency lamps and suitable reflectors and takes into account 

an average amount of acquired depreciation, which is rather high 

in the class of building under consideration. 

The following general rules on maximum desirable spacing 

Ceiling 10 feet or less 16 feet 

Ceiling 10 to lo feet 20 feet 

Ceiling above \5 feet 30 feet 

Of course, these are subject to more or less variation, dependin 

on the manner in which material is stored. 

For long, narrow rooms (less than 30 feet or approximately one 

bay wide) one central row of outlets will serve the purpose well. 

75-watt Mazda C lamps in enameled dome reflectors on 15-ft. 

centers would be a typical installation for a room with a 10-ft. 

ceiling, whereas 100-watt units on 20-ft. centers could be used if 

the ceiling were 15 feet. 

If the room is wider, it is well to space outlets symmetrically 

in the bays. For example, a warehouse from 40 to 60 feet wide 

should have two rows of lighting units, while one over 00 feet will 

probably require three rows. 

With ceilings averaging 15 feet, one nutlet in the center of each 

20-ft. standard buy is excellent practice, as shown in Fig. 7. Where 

material is piled almost to the ceiling, it is necessary to localize 

units with reference to the aisles, as pictured in Fig, 8. 


'"Indirect Lighting of a Warehouse," — Electrical World, August 90, 1913. 

"The Lighting of Put- ;t nd Docks," by A. R. Dcnnington, Electrical Age, Feb- 
ruary. 1!U7. 

'The Domination of Railroad Freight Piers. - ' by H. C. Yost, Railway Electrical 
I ngineer, May, li»17 

"Light as an Aid to the Transportation of Material.'' by A. L. Powell and 
R. K Harrington. Trans. I. E. S. Vol. 14, page 1 

Sales Offices arc located in all the 

Principal Cities of the United States